CS0100. DAVID OISTRAKH: 100th Birthday Celebration, w. Richter, Oborin, Goldenweizer, Yampolski, Knushevitzky, Frida Bauer, etc. 20-Brilliant 9056. Out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 5029365905626
“Not so long ago, GRAMOPHONE magazine asked several of today's leading virtuosos: who is the violinist's violinist? The answer was almost unequivocal: David Oistrakh, violinist, footballer and gentleman. Growing up and thriving in difficult and dangerous times in Stalin's Russia, his almost superhuman patience and poise made him an ideal recording artist, but that consistency is no less evident in this historical collection of live performances which have been collected to mark the hundredth anniversary of his birth. It includes several concertos of which he was progenitor, if not dedicatee, by virtue of his strength and delicacy as an artist: the two by Shostakovich and others by Prokofiev, Miaskovsky and Kabalevsky. The favourite hall-fillers by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius are included - and Oistrakh's partners are no less distinguished, among them Yevgeny Mravinsky, Kurt Sanderling and the great conductor-accompanist, Kyrill Kondrashin, who recognised a kindred spirit in the dedication and human warmth of Oistrakh. There is, therefore, a significant representation of Oistrakh not just as heroic soloist but as gregarious chamber musician, with friends including the pianists Lev Oborin and Vladimir Yampolsky and the cellist Sviatoslav Knushevitsky. Their repertoire ranges from Albéniz to Zarzycki, including showpieces such as Tartini's 'Devil's Trill' Sonata and Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' as well as more Oistrakh-inspired works by Prokofiev and Catoire. This is an essential set both for anyone who has some of Oistrakh's many studio recordings and wishes to explore further, and as an introduction to one of the last century's most inspiring musicians.
All these performances are from Russian sources, either commercial or off-air. They're all, in a sense, supplementary to primary recommendations…but the value of the box lies in its breadth and bulk, in its capturing, unearthing or re-issuing of some of the most consistently memorable violin playing of the twentieth century in repertoire entirely congenial to Oistrakh. And in some cases the performances here, for example the Third Brahms Sonata, are decisively superior to the commercial undertaking.
There's one outstanding rarity - the apparent first performance of the Miaskovsky….Whatever sonic limitations this box may possess, the chance to own, to compare and to contrast multiple recordings by this artist is an unmissable one….what are you waiting for?
- Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international